Vet denies going behind trainers’ backs

A vet denies adding a substance called vitamin complex to drips given to some of Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien’s racehorses without the Flemington trainers’ knowledge.

Dr Tom Brennan maintains Kavanagh and O’Brien knew he was adding the vitamin complex and they each paid $3000 for three bottles of it.

But Brennan said none of them knew it contained cobalt nor set out to cheat.

O’Brien and Kavanagh’s barrister Damian Sheales said neither trainer mentioned the vitamin complex to stewards after their cobalt positives in January 2015 because they did not know about it at the time.

Brennan said that was garbage.

Sheales said Kavanagh’s business was worth about $300,000 a year to Flemington Equine Clinic, while the vet estimated O’Brien’s at about $250,000.

“You used this bottle because you were frightened of losing Kavanagh’s work, and that’s why you never told him,” Sheales said on Friday.

Brennan disagreed.

“No, garbage. I told him and he paid me $3000 cash,” Brennan told Kavanagh and O’Brien’s appeal against their cobalt disqualifications.

Brennan said he had never given a product to a horse without the express permission of a trainer.

He has again named former Flemington Equine Clinic vet Dr Adam Matthews as the supplier of the vitamin complex that Brennan in turn gave to horses in the Kavanagh and O’Brien stables, which Matthews denies.

A bottle Brennan sent to Kavanagh’s son, Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh, was found to contain cobalt.

Sheales suggested Matthews never told Brennan the vitamin complex bottle cost $1000.

“No one ever told you that. You sold it to silly Sam for $1000,” Sheales said.

Brennan said that was not correct.

Sheales said if O’Brien had rolled out the vitamin complex drips to even half his stable, it would have been worth $225,000 to Brennan over six months.

Sheales asked Brennan why he would cheat with a horse that had no hope in a race, with the vet answering “we didn’t”.

“We didn’t think we were cheating. We never thought we were cheating.

“We never knew that we were using cobalt.

“We thought we were just using vitamin B to help the recovery of these horses. That is all.”

Brennan says he told the trainers he could not guarantee what was in the bottle but Matthews had assured him it did not contain cobalt or any prohibited substance.

Brennan has told VCAT, O’Brien took some time before deciding to use the vitamin complex, but he did not have to make a pitch to overcome his concerns.

“Danny ate it up and so did your other client and they know that,” Brennan told Sheales.

Racing Victoria barrister Jeff Gleeson QC later asked Brennan about the calculations of what he stood to make if O’Brien rolled out the vitamin complex, clarifying that giving it to half the stable would amount to $25,000, not $225,000.

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